Fantastic evening in Kruger National Park with friends…Rhino, hyena, lions and more…

Safari luck prevailed! It will take several days to post the many photos we took while in Kruger National Park on last night’s guided game drive with Rita (her birthday celebration), Gerhard, Petra, Fritz, Louise, Danie, and the two of us. We had the safari vehicle exclusively for our group only and dinner in the bush later on.

Our guide took this group photo of the eight of us.

I took the above video in error while I fast and furiously tried to take photos in the near dark without using any flash since using a camera’s flash is not allowed at night in the park. The flash can blind particular creatures, if not frighten them. We were in their space, not ours.

OK, I get it; a photo of a lion pooping is not necessarily worthy of posting. But, in the dark, in the moving vehicle, this was the best photo I could get of this lion.

As a result, the above video is all over the place. But I couldn’t help but share it with all of you when it included the dehorned rhino, hyena, and one of two lions we spotted in the dark. Also, some of our photos are not as clear as we’d like since many of the photos were taken in the dark, often in the moving vehicle. I’m not a good enough photographer to combat these issues. I did the best I could.

Hyenas are not always seen on a game drive. This one walked past us without giving it much of a thought.

With the eight of us in the safari vehicle with our highly competent guide and his significant other in the front seat, the conversation among us was fun and exciting as we saw more and more stunning wildlife. Our excellent guide, Xander van der Merwe, went over the top to provide us with an excellent experience, and he did. He’s highly skilled and knowledgeable, and the more experienced animal enthusiasts in our group learned a few things from him.

The two male lions were on the road at night in the dark.

If you are coming to or in this area, please don’t hesitate to give Xander a call for an experience such as ours. He will happily arrange an evening to be your guide and enjoy the dinner in the bush. He can be reached at +27 079 061 9995 or by email at xandervdmerwe14@gmail.com.

We waited for the rhino to turn around.

As it turned out, we saw four of the Big Five, but we weren’t disappointed to accomplish this common goal, as we mentioned many times. Sure, it would have been nice to see a leopard, but we saw many exciting and rarely seen wildlife. We couldn’t have been more content.

Finally, he turned, and I was able to get a shot of him, revealing he had been dehorned.

After stopping many times for various sightings on the evening drive, we didn’t arrive at the dining boma until around 8:00 pm, 2000 hrs, instead of the intended hour earlier. The fire was roaring, the tables were nicely set, and the buffet was set up with various options.

Quickly, he wandered off.

We gathered near the bonfire for exciting conversations over our special game drive. Firstly, wine and beer were served, and although all of us were hungry, we didn’t cut ourselves short on “sundowner time.” I drank regular red wine instead of my usual low alcohol wine but monitored myself carefully to avoid drinking too much. Tom drank beer.

Rita and I were standing under the sign.

Before dinner, the servers announced they were serving “champagne,” actually sparkling wine, to celebrate Rita’s birthday. We all raised a glass to her in tribute to her 60th birthday. After drinks and more photo-taking, we were seated at the table with our plate filled with good food. There were plenty of meats and vegetables available for me, while I avoided the starchy sides and dessert.

A beautiful sky at sunset.

Finally, we were on our way back to Louise’s and Danie’s Info Centre parking lot. We all hugged goodbye, delighted over extraordinary memories we’ll all treasure in years to come.

Enjoy our photos, and know there will be many more in the days to come.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, January 15, 2021:

We posted this photo one year ago. Mom, now called Tail-less Mom, with Barbara and Lori when they were piglets. Now full-grown, they visit us every day with Tail-less Mom and her two new piglets. For more photos, please click here.

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